Help map our ancient trees
The Woodland Trust needs your help to find out where all Britain's ancient trees are. The National Parks contain lots of ancient trees and we know where some of them are, but not all of them. We are training some of our volunteer teams to hunt for ancient trees, but the more hunters the better so you can help too! All you need to help is a map and a hug.
Ancient trees are big, fat and special
An ancient tree is one that makes you go ‘wow, it’s huge, fatter than any other tree like that around here’. It will be really fat, but probably not that tall, as really old trees start to shrinkdown. Like people, trees grow and age at different rates depending on where they are and what happens to them during their lifetime. But here’s a rough guide as to when trees start to be of interest to the Ancient Tree Hunt, based on our hug method of measurement:
- Oak - 3 hugs
- Beech - 2 hugs
- Sweet chestnut - 4 hugs
- Ash - 2 hugs
- Scots pine - 2 hugs
- Birch - 1 hug
- Hawthorn - 1 hug
- Field maple - 1 hug
An ancient oak tree is usually at least 400 years old, and can be over a 1000 years old!
Ancient trees are full of holes and dead and rotting wood. As the years go by they provide the perfect homes for thousands of species of plants, animals, insects and fungi, including many rare and threatened species. Clusters of ancient trees are even more important because together all the trees will offer a really wide range of nooks and crannies, providing homes for lots of different specialist species in just one small area.
How to record a tree - give it a hug
If you have a tape measure, wrap it around the tree trunk at its narrowest point, normally about 1.5m up from the ground. If you take a picture you can add it to the ancient tree hunt website.
If you don't have anything to measure with, just hug the tree. An adult hug (arms outstreched as far as possible) is 1.5m on average. So count how many hugs it takes to surround the tree and you have fairly good measure of how wide it is.
- Ancient tree hunt website - details abut the project, where to find trees, how to identify and measure trees and how to log your tree finds.